I would hope that the costs of leaving a congregation based ministry would be obvious to all. The short list is: love, people, love, and thinking about really important things every single day.
There are benefits, however. (Ministers might want to stop reading here and go back to their copies of Augustine's Confessions and ironing their khakis with Gregorian chants playing in the background. If you choose to read on, don't say I didn't warn you.)
1) When you leave they throw you an amazing party and give you thoughtful gifts and make you feel like you should not leave. Oh, wait. That was going along pretty well before the end there.
2)I can truly wear whatever I want. The biggest shock to my former congregation would probably be that I was holding back on the clothing thing. Today I wore white, black, maroon, pink, silver, and purple and was happy happy. My custom made Converse they gave me are a STAPLE of my wardrobe and possibly my favorite shoes ever.
3)I am returning to my "I will listen to whatever I want and read whatever I want" self. I have read: Housekeeping vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby, At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances by Alexander McCall Smith, The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love by some crazy woman, and have started not 1, not 2, but 3 others.
As for music I have recently downloaded the new Delbert McClinton, Band of Skulls, Bex Marshall, Cage the Elephant, and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Almost none of it would work in a worship service. Not even one of mine.
4) If you are miserable with grief, but not ministering to a congregation, you are not required to get up before hundreds of people and talk about really deep things that only make you hurt more. And you don't feel guilty when people ask "How are you?" and you lie lie lie.
5) People say outrageous things. People hold back on the outrageous around the minister. I blushed half a dozen times today just on what I overheard because no one knew a minister was in the room. Not kidding - I blushed so much it was starting to hurt. WOW!
5b) People curse alot more than I ever imagined. And more cleverly.
6) I have had dinner with my children every night for at least two weeks.
7) My husband and I go to bed and wake up at the same time.
8) My cleavage tattoo is almost healed and is stunning.
(Hee hee. Because my mother is alive, healthy as a horse, and taller than I am I must admit that I am lying on #8 or risk never getting fed her amazing shrimp and grits again.)